Ultimate Spider-Man #17

Quoth the Kraven, I’m gonna kill me a Spider-Man! We find Kraven featured in this issue. He was introduced last issue when he arrived in New York threatening to kill Spider-Man. Kraven in the Ultimate Universe is a reality television show host, sort of like a demented Steve Irwin type of character.

Call me crazy but I don’t care if we were talking about a crazed Bill Cosby chasing around women with a bottle of Quaalude’s, if some announced on television they had the intention of killing him on national television simply for the ratings I cannot imagine the authorities at the very least would be very understanding. Even when you’re talking about someone the public cannot stand I just don’t see how someone would take what Kraven says about his intentions to kill Spider-Man and be all right with it. Yeah, you’re going to get a few morons who would love to watch it happen but maybe it is me being naive but I still think most folks are decent people that despite having a personal hatred for someone in the news they don’t know they would not want to wish death upon them.

I also have a problem with the idea that Kraven would be directed by a personal manager to do this. The original comics present Kraven as more of an evil big time hunter. He’s not a star of any sort, just someone that is Russian and likes to kill. The idea that a hunter who has no problem attempting to kill humans is not only a television star but is liked by people nationwide for his show and have no problem with his murderous ambitions is something that is too far fetched for me. I like the Kraven character. I could do without this version of the character.

We get a little more information about Justin Hammer, enough to let us know that Norman Osborne has a rival for world’s worst fictional rich man. It seems that Spider-Man’s rogues gallery in this universe are pretty much created by Mr. Hammer or have been in his acquaintance. We find that Electro had been created by Justin Hammer and sold to Wilson Fisk. We get a video shot of Flint Marko, The Sandman, in a bizarre state. As The Sandman, he has the power to turn to sand. Being that he is still in the early stages of being experimented on, we see him in an unstable state. There’s definitely more to come here.

Mr. Hammer is off to a speech to announce the opening of his new energy station that will save New York billions. While he’s giving a speech there is a giant television screen behind him showing the inside of the station. While Hammer is giving his speech, Doctor Octopus comes on screen and kills everyone. At the same time Peter and class are in an assembly when the Principal tells everyone what is happening after the authorities told him to tell the students for some reason. Yes, we needed to have Peter finally confront Doctor Octopus but if you’re going to do that at least have it set after Peter gets out of school when it would be more realistic a time for them to face off. Having the principal announce it for no real reason was just dumb. Yes, if it is at an energy station which contains some hazardous material but being that the principal did not announce that the authorities were concerned about a possible chemical leak but just warning them to keep inside due to a bit of “trouble” in town. Bendis may as well come out and said “I’m looking for an excuse for Peter to confront Doctor Octopus but I can’t think of something right now.”

At the station Doctor Octopus is not really doing much of anything. Sure, he murdered some folks but why? They don’t answer the why of what  is motivating Doctor Octopus to perform the crimes he is performing. There has to be a reason for him to want to take over this station other than he is crazy. With that being said, the last panel, where Spider-Man and Doc Ock meet makes up for most of this with a funny intro.

Bottom Line:

This is not a bad issue. It does a lot to address some of the concerns I had about the previous issue. I still contend that these issues SHOULD have been dealt with during the last issue or sooner, it is about time we know a little bit more of what is going on.

Now some may argue that I should wait to comment until I complete the story, keep in mind you’re missing the point of my reviews. Exploring how a story progresses issue by issue is a great way to examine a long form story as a whole. Like with reading a book, not every chapter will win you over as the best chapter in a book but if the author does their job, they will definitely get you to appreciate everything together. With that said, there is much to learn for any writer by studying individual chapters and see how a writer builds a story from the first step to the last. You will get a chance to see what works and what fails along your trail. In the end, you will know what works and hopefully be able to  avoid those pitfalls yourself. Even if your opinion of a work is mere subjective opinion, which my critique is, when you write, you write for yourself. If you think something is done incorrectly, then follow that rule for your own work. I certainly reserve the right to be critical of Mr. Bendis’s work but fully understand that these are my opinions and my opinions alone. Even though I may not care for certain issues, the stories as a whole are well done. Brian Bendis is one of my favorite comic writers for this reason.

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